Dune Buggy

The Presidents of The United States of America

Columbia 663489 2, 1996
1. Dune Buggy ****
2. Back Porch (Live) ****
3. Kick Out the Jams (Live) ****
4. Video Killed the Radio Star (Live) ****

written by Chris Ballew and The Presidents of The United States of America (1, 2), Tyner/Davis/Tomich/Smith/Kambes/Derminer (3), Horn/Downes/Woolley (4)

produced by Conrad Uno and Chris and Dave (1), Klaus Wellerhaus (2, 4), Danny Greenspoon and Cathy Irving (3)

If Oasis, Blur and Britpop were in the business of reinventing The Beatles for the '90s, I guess The Presidents of The United States of America were the complement, reinventing the Beach Boys... or, at least, that is what "Dune Buggy" is about. And just as Oasis and Blur could sometimes do some very good Beatles imitations, "Dune Buggy" qualifies as a pretty good Beach Boys imitation. Elements of punk give the music a kick, while the anarchic fun apparent in their music adds what every surf bandeven a grunge surf bandneeds.

Covers of a 1978 Blue Oyster Cult song and a 1979 Buggles song finish the single. The Buggles is perhaps a surprising choice and "Video..." is why I sought this single out, but The Buggles' fun version of New Wave fits The Presidents' style. Their version, with consciously inadequate vocalisations standing in for much of Downes' keyboard trickery, is irreverent fun, but respectful of the original nonetheless. The riffs are given a new lease of life, with Horn's bass riff heard more clearly. While not as good as the original, it's a fresh approach nonetheless.

Henry Potts, 14 Feb 98; revised 29 Aug 05

Originally posted to rec.music.reviews and Armada (issue 160).

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